Principal Newsletter Archives

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 10/09/20

Dear St. Francis Families,

This Tuesday, Sacramento County’s COVID-19 risk status remained in the Substantial Tier. Continuing on this less restrictive tier allows us to prepare for a return to campus and begin implementing our safe return to school plan.  

In order to prepare for students and faculty/staff safe return to campus, it is vital that our school community understands the risk of COVID-19 and follows all health precautions.  We are currently working to bring back some students who need in-person specialized support services consistent with SCPH guidelines, as early as next week. Those students will be receiving notification from the Administration and Guidance Department directly.  We will continue with the changes announced in last week’s newsletter:

The modified weekly schedule began this week, with the first flex day on Wednesday, October 7th. Wednesday flex days will continue for the remainder of the 2nd Quarter (up to Christmas break). 

While other local area high schools have indicated a return to school date as early as October 19th,  we are taking a more pragmatic approach and consulting with the Sacramento County Health Office and Diocese to ensure our Safe Return to School Plan meets their approval. We do this in order to mitigate the possibility of a school-wide closure at the first onset of a COVID outbreak. As we finalize preparations for reopening and the county crosses the “magical” two week marker in the Red Tier on Tuesday, I will send an email on Wednesday (10/14) with additional information on returning to school.

Let us all remain vigilant and continue to follow the county’s guidelines, and adhere to face coverings and physical distancing requirements. By doing so, we can look forward to bringing our Troubies back to campus and remaining open for the long term.

I appreciate your support and patience as we continue to navigate this ever-changing situation.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 10/02/20

Dear St. Francis Families,

This Tuesday, Sacramento County’s COVID-19 risk status was downgraded from the Widespread to Substantial Tier. Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving into the next tier. Data is reviewed weekly, and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. Before moving forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a particular county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned to a more restrictive tier. 

So what does this mean for St. Francis?

While we are hopeful our county’s case rate and positivity rate improves, we must also be prepared for conditions to worsen and health precautions to be adjusted. Therefore, it is vital that our community understands the risk of COVID-19 and follows all health precautions.  We are initially working to bring back some of our students, who need in-person specialized support services consistent with SCPH guidelines.  We will continue with the changes announced in last week’s newsletter:

  • To provide our students and teachers consistency of instruction and daily routine while we wait for more improvements, we will remain in distance learning mode through the end of October. 
  • The modified weekly schedule begins this week, with the first flex day on Wednesday, October 7th, which is also the day we will honor our Patron Saint with a drive-through parade on campus (2:30-5:30 p.m.). Please encourage your daughter to attend. The whole family, as well as pets, are also welcome. This new schedule incorporates a mid-week, asynchronous flex day every Wednesday.  

How is St. Francis preparing for a safe return to campus?

Our school site has been busy preparing buildings and common areas to best protect the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, while mitigating exposure to COVID-19. We are looking at every detail, including, but not limited to:

  • HVAC systems with MERV 13 air filters;
  • Replacing drinking fountains with touch-free hydration stations;
  • Touch-free handwashing stations across campus;
  • Installation of plexiglass barriers in offices and other shared spaces, where physical distancing may not be possible;
  • Placing signage for screening and health guidelines per Sacramento County requirements;
  • Maintaining heightened requirements for disinfecting/cleaning high touchpoint and common areas;
  • New drop-off and pick-up procedures; and
  • Providing faculty/staff with training on our return to campus and mitigating COVID-19 measures.

As we continue to prepare for reopening, I will be sharing our Safe Return to School Plan detailing our response to potential COVID-19 exposures, confirmed cases, multiple cases, and how the school site will respond. 

While we are moving in a positive direction, we must remain vigilant. We ensure that we will continue to follow the county’s guidelines, and adhere to face coverings and physical distancing requirements. By doing so, we can look forward to bringing our Troubies back to campus and remaining open for the long term.

I appreciate your continued support as we navigate through this ever-changing situation.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 9/25/20

Dear St. Francis Families,

The 1st Quarter of the school year has flown by. Our students and teachers have done a phenomenal job of implementing and sustaining the distance learning environment. I know a virtual learning model is not ideal, as it poses challenges for teaching and learning. I cannot thank you enough for the outpouring of support and positive validation you’ve shared over the past few weeks about the St. Francis faculty/staff. 

As you are aware, the Sacramento County Health Officer published health orders that essentially closed all public and private schools in Sacramento County until it is safe to return to in-person instruction. While certain waivers have been approved for K-6 feeder schools in the Diocese, they do not apply to secondary schools. 

Given the most recent Sacramento County health order of September 23, 2020, and with the county remaining on the Purple Tier 1 designation on the State’s new Tier System, we will not be able to return to campus until we are in the Red Tier for at least two weeks. At this point, it is not likely that we’ll be in this lower tier until later in October. 

In an effort to provide our students and teachers consistency of instruction and daily routine, we will remain in distance learning mode through the end of October. In consultation with our Executive Director of Catholic Schools and the Sacramento County Department of Public Health, we decided that the extension of distance learning through the end of October would be best for our school community to remain in a protective posture for a little longer. 

In addition, based on recent parent, student, and faculty surveys, we’ve also made the decision to modify our weekly schedule in order to decrease screen time and provide students with the opportunity to disconnect, catch-up on their studies asynchronously, or take some time to exercise positive self-care. The new schedule will include a mid-week asynchronous flex day that students can use to check-in with their teachers, talk with Guidance/Wellness counselors, or use it as a catch-up day. This change in schedule will start on Monday, October 5th when the 2nd Quarter begins.

The transition from the current Distance Learning Model to our proposed Hybrid Learning Model is multi-faceted and will require time and diligence to ensure a successful transition for all. As such, we will look at making this a phased transition to ensure our faculty/staff and students can adjust accordingly in order to acclimate to the COVID-19 safety protocols on campus. It will be imperative that all faculty/staff and students adhere to county guidelines to safeguard and protect all from inadvertent exposure.

I will continue to communicate with the Diocese and the Sacramento County Department of Public Health to ensure we are taking the needed steps to safeguard our faculty/staff and students. I will keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

We genuinely care about providing our Troubies with a world-class education and preparing them for life after high school. This will continue to be our focus as we remain in distance learning. We are continuously looking at re-envisioning important community events that we all miss. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Again, I am grateful for your continued support, and for making the best of these unimaginable times.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 9/18/20

Dear St. Francis Families,

Thank you to all of the parents that were able to join us on Tuesday, September 15th for our virtual Back-To-School Night. While it was not the typical in-person event that we host, it was a great opportunity for parents and teachers to meet one another, albeit, in a virtual setting. Thank you for being our partners in educating our Troubies! I also want to recognize all of the efforts of our incredible faculty and staff that went into orchestrating this virtual Zoom event.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be closing out the 1st Quarter of the fall semester. This is a good time to check in with your daughter(s) to ensure they are caught up and have submitted any work or assessments that need to be completed before the end of the quarter on Friday, October 2nd. Keep in mind, there’s still time left in the semester to improve a final course grade/s. This is also the perfect time to realign priorities and set new goals for the remaining weeks of the semester. If you have any questions or academic concerns, please reach out to your daughter(s) Guidance counselor.

As we prepare ourselves for the fall season of thankfulness, prompt your daughter(s) to make time to rest, reflect, and reward themselves for their minor and/or major triumphs. A reward doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant, it can be a simple treat like coffee or the movie of their choice on family night. Also, let’s all take a deep breath and make time to pray, and thank God for all He has done and is doing.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Message for the Class of 2024 Parents

Dear Class of 2024 Parents,

I am writing to inform you that we have finally received the Chromebook shipment we anticipated in early August. We are eager to get the new computers in your daughter’s hands, and we hope you’re able to pick them up this coming weekend. 

This Saturday, September 12th, we will be distributing new Chromebooks and collecting the loaner Chromebooks from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The drop off/pick-up location will be in front of the school. The process will be pretty seamless.  You will drive around the Armory, and then drive down to the front of the school, where our staff will be stationed to collect and distribute computers.  We do ask that, in order to expedite the process, each Chromebook and charging cable is ready to be handed over to one of our staff members. Additionally, please have your daughter’s name clearly printed on an 8 ½ X 11 piece of paper placed on the passenger-side dashboard, so we can read and check-off her name.

If your daughter would like to keep her current Chromebook, or if you are unable to come to the school on Saturday, please complete the 2024 Chromebook form.   If you have any specific questions, please contact our Technology Office at sftech@stfrancishs.org.

I appreciate your patience and understanding, while we waited for the arrival of our Chromebooks. 

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 9/11/20

Dear St. Francis Families,

I can’t believe we have completed the fourth week of instruction!  While distance learning has become the “normal” for the time being, it is important to remind your daughters to find some balance. Now more than ever, it’s necessary that they find time to breathe and decompress, as it will provide them with some coping skills necessary for resilience and success throughout these times. As we continue to navigate this school year, an important skill for all students is to learn to ask for assistance early, so they can feel confident in their academics and self-advocacy skills. We want to ensure our Troubies utilize the various support systems we have in place at St. Francis, such as asking teachers for assistance, signing up for tutoring, and or working with their Guidance/Wellness counselors.

Thank you for being proactive and helping us develop strong, confident, young women.

Also, you may have seen the article in the Sacramento Bee yesterday afternoon that our Diocese received approval on their waiver application to return to in-person instruction for K-6 grade students. For those schools with 7-12 grades, we still have to abide by the Sacramento County public health order. We have to remain closed to in-person instruction until we are off the county watch list. As we receive additional information from our Diocese and the county, we will keep you updated. 

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal